The priest-electricians were aware that the deity was to be found not only in the sky as lightning, but also in the earth.
In Greek, chthon is the earth, Gaia is the goddess in the earth.
The snake was seen in the sky as a dragon, and was associated with radiation and its effects, but it was also a creature living in holes in the ground, and snake tubes were incorporated in Cretan houses where the snake was like the Roman genius, guardian of the household.
We have suggested that the Egyptian ka was an electrical aura or halo round a person, especially round the head, the electrical headquarters. It was associated with health and life, and appears in the Greek greeting chaire! chairete! Hail! Raise the ka! [airo = raise].
Chairete is very close to the Hebrew chaya, to live, to be well, to enjoy life. The plural chayim is life. Chai, alive, looks and sounds like a reversal of the Greek cry Iacche, which greeted Dionysus, a god of the electrical life in living things.
When priests tried to capture lightning by charging Leyden jars in the form of arks or thrones, they recognised the importance of a good earth connection. Altars and arks were put on rock or a base of stone, if necessary deepened by a pit filled with stones, as at Alalakh in Syria and at Chamaizi in Crete. In Assyria, a spear stuck in an altar, or a representation of a winged disk in the sky, symbolised the god.
Earthquakes, which were associated in the ancient mind with divine activity in the sky as well as underground, were a source of piezoelectric effects. The goats detected the conditions at Delphi.
The Psychro cave in Crete contained a fragment of a jar with a picture of a leaping goat. The Greek verb skirtao, frolic, dance, describes the movements of the goats that the goatherd Korytas noticed at Delphi, and its consonants suggest the Egyptian Seker, an earth deity. The title of Seker was given to Osiris when he was imprisoned in the chest before being restored to life and raised up by electrical force. The Latin securus means secure and enclosed. The Latin sacer has the same consonants; we shall see the connection with dancing in a few moments.
It seems possible that ka represents the same phenomenon as the Greek Ga, Ge, or Gaia.
We have seen that the Pelasgians may be the people who were wise about caves, and that the tholos tomb may symbolise a link between sky and earth. Inhumation brought the dead into contact with the divine force in the earth. One had, or hoped to have, the best of both worlds.
The Egyptian neter, divine, a hieroglyph looking like an axe or hoe, has the same consonants as the Greek antron.
Dancing was a sacred ritual. Egyptian monarchs, and king David, danced before the god. Etruscan mimes danced to elicit the earth deity and to imitate and resurrect the dead for consultation. Skr, Latin sacer, when reversed, becomes rks, a Semitic root meaning 'dance', Arabic raqs.
The hymn of the Salii, the leaping priests of Rome, included the words limen sali, leap at the threshold. We may compare with this the words of the prophet Zephaniah, chapter I: 9: "In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters' houses with violence and deceit"
The arch of Janus marked the start of the Via Sacra at Rome, for processions to the Capitol. As he passed under the arch, a triumphing general crossed the limen, threshold, and by so doing became, to the spectators, divine. Limen, threshold, is an interesting word. In Greek it is a harbour. Harbour, port and threshold are all, in a sense, gateways. When read from right to left, limen becomes the Phoenician word for a harbour, namal.
Epilepsy was a sacred disease. The jerky movements of a sufferer in a fit probably suggested that an external power was in control of his or her body.
Perhaps the lotus eaters of Homer's Odyssey lost their memory as a result of electric shock. El and oth are Hebrew for 'god', and 'sign'; a lotus is tse'el.
Augurs relied on watching birds and animals, especially small animals which would creep out of holes in the ground when an earthquake was imminent. The hoopoe with its erectile crest was particularly useful when its attention was drawn to earthquake light and changes in electromagnetic states. Its cry was thought to resemble the Greek opopa, I have seen. Augurs must also have watched the quail, Greek ortux, light finder.
Ankh, live, and sankh, make to live, are the origin of the Latin sancio, sanctify, a word whose original meaning was to make to live. Sanctus, holy, means literally 'having been brought to life'.
The ankh was the most powerful of amulets and hieroglyphs in ancient Egypt. Its hieroglyph is described as a sandal tie with loop. Why this should mean 'life' has not been made clear.
For a connection between a sandal and life, we might turn to the Selli, the Agnihotris, and the Flamen Dialis or priest of Jupiter at Rome. All these priests had one thing in common: they could maintain good earth contact. The Selli were not allowed to wash their feet, the Brahmin Agnihotris or fire priests had to sleep on the ground, the Flamen Dialis had to sleep in a bed whose feet were covered in mud. The common aim was to be in intimate contact with the earth goddess Gaia.
The ankh may have a different explanation, representing the dual character, celestial and chthonic, of the electrical force. There may also be a link with the orb and sceptre, regalia with which a monarch is equipped at a coronation ceremony. The orb, which is a sphere with a cross on the top, looks like an ankh if it is turned upside down.
Herakles defeated the giant Antaeus, whose strength came to him from the earth, by lifting him up in the air so that he became weak.
Alke is Greek for valour, especially of heroes. The inspiration and help probably came from above. I suggest ka and al. Arete, courage, virtue, manliness and excellence may be ar and da, electrical help from Gaia the earth goddess.
The Egyptian god who created human beings was Khnemu. The consonants of his name are found in the Greek mechane, a device that was cunning and sometimes dangerous. This may be more than coincidence; a temple contained a device, or devices, for producing a life-giving spark which would animate lifeless matter or the dead. Khnemu's wife Heket injected life into the body that Khnemu had made.
Psyche, the Greek for soul or principle of life, is probably an onomatopoeic word for electrical sparking, revealing the presence of the god.
The danger attendant on the operation of an ark, which, as well as being charged from the god above, might be a source of radiation from shamir, a substance kept in a lead container, was such that the Jewish High Priest wore special clothing: the choshen or breastplate was of double thickness, like the protective clothing found at the temple of Apollo at Gryneion.
That the High Priest's breastplate was more than usually important is clear from the fact that in Roman times it was in the keeping of the Roman garrison in Jerusalem and was issued to the High Priest on special occasions.